Kevin R. Binning
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, and Research Scientist, Learning Research and Development Center
Most of my research seeks to change people’s behavior in two domains: politics and education. In the political realm, I study ways of reducing partisanship and conformity. In the education realm, I study ways of improving the academic performance of students who are at risk for underperformance. Through all of my work runs the idea that people’s membership in particular groups (e.g., “Democrat” or “Latino American”) makes them predictable. For example, people feel implicit pressure to go along with salient group norms, even when the norms are wrong or destructive. People are built to have fundamental concerns about belonging and status in their social groups, so much so that going against a group’s norms – which describe and proscribe the appropriate behaviors for group members - can be like going against a part of yourself. My work has sought to use these and other insights about social psychology to change behavior in socially constructive ways.